Rotary International is a global service organization that focuses on humanitarian efforts and community service. It was founded in Chicago, Illinois, USA, by Paul P. Harris on February 23, 1905. The organization’s rich history and growth over the years can be summarized as follows:

1. Foundation: Paul P. Harris, a lawyer, along with three friends, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey, conceived the idea of forming a club that would foster fellowship and promote ethical business practices. They decided to rotate their meetings among each other’s offices, which led to the name “Rotary.”

2. Early Years: The early Rotary clubs focused on business networking and community service. The concept of “Service Above Self” became the organization’s guiding principle.

3. Growth: The first Rotary club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, was soon joined by clubs in other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, and New York. The Rotary movement began to spread nationally and internationally, with clubs formed in Canada (1910), the United Kingdom (1911), and soon throughout the world.

4. The Four-Way Test: In 1932, Herbert J. Taylor, a Rotarian, introduced the Four-Way Test, a set of ethical guidelines for personal and business relationships. The test asks four questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

5. Rotary Foundation: In 1917, the Rotary Foundation was established as a not-for-profit corporation to promote world understanding and peace. It has since grown to support various international projects, including polio eradication, educational scholarships, and humanitarian grants.

6. Polio Eradication: In 1985, Rotary International launched the PolioPlus program with the goal of eradicating polio worldwide. Through fundraising, advocacy, and partnerships with organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, Rotary has made significant progress in reducing polio cases globally.

7. Rotary’s Areas of Focus: Rotary International has six main areas of focus for its global service projects: Peace and conflict resolution, Disease prevention and treatment (with a focus on polio eradication), Water and sanitation, Maternal and child health, Basic education and literacy, and Economic and community development.

8. Membership: Rotary International has grown to include over 1.4 million members in more than 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas.

9. International Conventions: Rotary holds annual international conventions that bring together Rotarians from around the world to celebrate achievements, discuss projects, and exchange ideas. The first international convention took place in 1910, and they continue to be significant events in the organization’s calendar.

Rotary International has a long and storied history of service and continues to make a positive impact on communities and individuals globally. Its dedication to humanitarian efforts and commitment to the motto “Service Above Self” remain at the core of its mission.